Caravanning at Christmas
The Lazenby family are considering spending the festive period in their caravan but there’s a lot to consider – firstly, how will Santa find them?
This year has been particularly strange and with further restrictions on family gatherings being brought in, the festive period is going to be very different. There will be no Christmas Day with the parents and in-laws or Boxing Day with the full family.
The idea crosses my mind to remove ourselves from these situations and go away for a short break. This raises the question – BBQd turkey legs or a full Christmas dinner? We could even scrap the traditional and have spag bol or a chilli and rice instead. The options I face are truly endless.
Christmas in the caravan with young children can be a daunting but magical experience. Questions need to be thought through and answered before you even begin.
How will Santa find us? How will he deliver the presents? What about Rudolph getting his carrot? Will we hear him on the roof? These are just a few of the questions I was faced with when we first floated the idea of going away over Christmas this year.
This triggered the cogs in my head, which I am sure you could hear turning, with ideas of how to hide the presents, where to pack the Christmas tree, how to hang decorations and never mind the idea of a Christmas dinner!
Lists will need to be made to settle the rising panic of making Christmas unforgettable away from home.
I get straight to work setting out a plan for making the most of the occasion. My plan should start with setting a date to go away – not finalised but 23 December sits quite nicely for me.
In theory this should allow plenty of time to set up the awning, tree and decorations before the excitement of Christmas Eve and the impending big day.
As of yet I haven’t decided where we could go. That’s going to be a task to complete shortly. A family tradition of ours is to attend the late afternoon Christingle at our local church followed by a finger buffet tea and exchanging gifts with friends.
Unfortunately, this isn’t going to happen in this way, at least not this year. Alternative activities need to be found.
So oranges, cocktail sticks, raisins, Jelly Tots, foil, candles, holly and red tape are the first items on my new shopping list. If we can’t go to Christingle then we will just have to make our own.
Next to be added will be buffet items for tea – it’s a good job we have a large fridge as it’s likely to be very full by the time I have finished packing it.
Christmas Eve boxes, which are delivered by our naughty elf, Snowflake, need to be prepared with a DVD, treats and new PJs then hidden away. I dread to think about where Snowflake will be hiding and the mischief she will cause in the caravan.
Maybe she will swing from the awning lights or roll herself up in the blinds? Now I have added hot chocolate, marshmallows and popcorn to have whilst watching a film to my ever-increasing list.
The conundrum I face now is presents. What shall I buy? How will I hide them? Oh goodness, I hope they don’t want something big like a ride-on car or a slide and swing set. The decision has been made to go small (at least that is MY decision). I already know Hannah would love an iPod Touch with games, YouTube Kids and music…
I must also remember to charge her headphones. With Charlotte only being three her presents will take some thinking about. Then again, she always seems to want what her sister has so maybe it will be easy! Other small items and stocking fillers will pad it all out. Thankfully presents shouldn’t be too difficult to hide so long as they stay small.
Reindeer food is the following thought. I must remember to make some just to ensure that Santa and the elves can still find us.
Cornflakes, oats and cake sprinkles are added to the list and a note made to raid the craft box for glitter and a mixing bowl. Must also remember to check the cleaning supplies at the caravan as this could get very messy. I really don’t want to forget my Dyson on this trip. Need to add mince pies to the list for Santa as Rudolph will have his carrot.
Phew! Christmas day breakfast is by far the easiest to sort – out with the bacon, slap it on, butter the bread and away you go.
Onto Christmas dinner, and I begin to feel the panic rising again. Although we have a decent-sized oven, do we cook a turkey crown with the whole shebang or do we go for turkey legs on the BBQ?
One thing I am certain of is that the usual special-order huge family-sized turkey is out of the question. I may have to sleep on this for a few days, yet we have three gas rings and an electric hotplate which will cover the veg (you just have to have sprouts even if you don't like them,) and the oven will fit a small turkey crown, some roasties and pigs in blankets.
That's the decision made for now, I think. I must order another shelf for the oven. I really do wish manufacturers would supply you with more than one, especially when you have a six-berth caravan.
I know I need to do a bit of Googling and plan a local walk for after lunch, so nearer the time I will sit down with a coffee, laptop and an Ordnance Survey map to plan a gentle stroll just to walk off the food and the wine. Hopefully there will be some woods nearby and we can have a go at building a Christmas den.
Other items I must remember are Christmas DVDs, crackers, stockings, games and Lego and even then I am sure there will be more. If I carry on like this there will be no room left in the car for my husband or the kids.
The rest of Christmas should flow quite nicely and I am sure the girls will enjoy playing with their presents, running around the site and, of course, building with the old faithful Lego over the short break. We can eat up the leftovers and I am sure I will buy enough food to see us through.
Caravan Christmas tree tips
When you’re looking for a real Christmas tree for your caravan, there’s different requirements you need to think about.
Samuel Lyle, owner of Pines and Needles, has been growing and selling Christmas trees since he was 13 years old, so he knows a thing or two about choosing the perfect one. Here are his top tips:
The last thing you want to think about when enjoying your festive break is needles. The Pines and Needles Nordmann Fir is the king of the trees, its needles will stay attached throughout the festive season and its iconic smell will fill the whole caravan space in no time.
You might think you can’t get a real Christmas tree in a size that works inside your caravan but Pines and Needles does beautiful trees in 3ft and 4ft which would fit perfectly in your ‘home away from home’.
Once you’ve picked your tree, you’ll need to think about where it’s going to live. The Norman Spruce is best outside and would fit perfectly in an awning or on the decking, but there’s also something wonderful about an indoor tree. While space is always at a premium, a little reorganisation will work wonders. You could even opt for the smallest tree and place on top of a small table!
Who needs a chimney for Santa to come down when you have a skylight? The kids will be all the more amazed when presents appear at the foot of a tree, no matter how big it is!
Main article image courtesy of Alamy